Nonprofit Unfair to Disabled Employees: Union

Disabled employees of the non-profit Digital Divide Data elected a president of their newly formed un­ion on Sunday, after staff members accused the US-founded so­cial enterprise of exploiting disabled staff.

Thach Saroeung, who was unanimously elected to the position by 30 members of the DDD’s disabled staff and whose nomination has been submitted to the Mini­stry of Labor, said he wanted the company to explain its payment pol­icies.

“We want [Digital Divide] to ex­plain to us the financial management, because we do the same work [as able-bodied employees] but we receive less money,” Thach Sa­roeung said.

He claimed that disabled em­ploy­ees sometimes receive only $65 of their $85 monthly salary for the digital archiving and other data entry computer work that the en­terprise conducts.

“There is not a good relationship between the management and the employees,” Thach Saroeung add­ed.

The 30 union members make up around one quarter of the Dig­i­tal Divide’s total staff.

Digital Divide Data General Manager Kann Kunthy said all em­ployees used to receive the same salary, but that new policies have been implemented since able-bodied workers complained that they work harder than their disabled col­leagues do.

Under the new policy, said Kann Kunthy, “Strong people will make more money.”

Kann Kunthy said that he was concerned for the enterprise’s fu­ture, as donors, alarmed by the disabled union’s claims, may cease fund­ing.

Digital Divide aims to offer competitively priced services for data en­try while facilitating the human de­velopment of its staff by providing healthcare, education and fair wages, according to its Web site.

Digital Divide’s clients have in­cluded Harvard University’s Har­vard Crimson newspaper in the US, according to its Web site.

Kong Pharith, senior program of­f­icer for the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, said his center had taught employees of Digital Divide Data basic laws about their rights as workers.

“[Unionizing] is a good example for NGOs, because NGO management [often] do not know the la­bor law,” Kong Pharith said.

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